• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Charles Dickens reveal his attitude toward Victorian customs of crime and punishment in the novel Great Expectations?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Charles Dickens reveal his attitude toward Victorian customs of crime and punishment in the novel Great Expectations? During the novel called Great Expectations, Charles Dickens makes it obvious to us how he feels about crime and punishment in the Victorian era. This essay will examine some of the ways he expresses his feelings and makes his attitude clear. The first way that Dickens reveals part of his attitude is by the words and phrases he uses to describe the escaped convict. To show the readers that the man he is describing is an escaped convict, Dickens uses such words and phrases such as: "A fearful man, all in course grey, with a great iron on his leg. A man with no hat, and with broken shoes," (page 6) Dickens is trying to point out that he feels the treatment of prisoners is unfair. ...read more.

Middle

Dickens's description of the capture of the two convicts again shows his attitude of Victorian crime and punishment. As I have mentioned before, each prisoner had to wear an iron on his leg. As well as the iron leg: "Both were bleeding and panting and execrating and struggling" and "seemed to be bruised and torn all over. He could not so much as get his breath to speak," (Page 35 and 36) These two extracts from the book both show that the treatment was horrendous. Dickens mentions blood, bruising, etc, which paints a picture in the readers mind and makes them feel how poor the handling of criminals actually was. On addition to this, Dickens says that each prisoner had to stop and rest. This adds to the point that Dickens tells us, which is that the treatment of criminals was appalling. Compared to nowadays, there is a clear difference. ...read more.

Conclusion

Compeyson was treated better than Magwitch because of his wealth and because he was more posh than Magwitch. Compeyson was given a lighter sentence than Magwitch for committing the same crime. Surely, if two people commit the same crime they should receive the same sentence. But in this case hey don't and therefore the law has treated Magwitch unfairly. My final point is when Magwitch comes to trial. Once again the law is unduly harsh due to the punishment not fitting the crime. In Great Expectations Dickens makes his point clear by having 32 people receiving the same punishment for different crimes. As well as this, he tells us all 32 people were told at the same time. This is again unfair to prisoners. Overall, Dickens has made it obviously clear to us his attitude towards crime and punishment I the Victorian era. He feels that it is very unfair and unjust due to the above reasons. I think that if Dickens could see the treatment of prisoners today he would be much more satisfied. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Great Expectations section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Great Expectations essays

  1. Crime and Punishment Issues in "Great Expectations".

    As Pip gets older he realises more and more about his life, his background and the people associated with it. While trying to find his way, he discovers shocking facts. The most important one being that Magwitch, the convict, is Pip's benefactor.

  2. Show how Dickens introduces the themes of crime, punishment and guilt in the early ...

    Pip comes home from the Marshes a little bit late and he slowly walks into his house and he only sees Joe he says to him that Mrs Joe is looking for him and is very angry. Mrs Joe is the type of person you wouldn't mess around with "She was not a good looking woman, my sister."

  1. An exploration of the ways in which issues of class and status are presented ...

    These are the effects of the social subversion which Hartley may be arguing is a travesty of what is good, right and natural. The break down of the natural social order leaves society in turmoil. Hartley was content to criticise particularly the middle class for their insurrection of the class hierarchy on which he based many of his works.

  2. The treatment of crime and justice in Great Expectations.

    In chapter.56, Magwitch is among 32 others that are going to be hanged. In this part there is a very powerful image on page 453 'the sun was striking through the great windows...and made a broad shaft of light between the two-and-thirty and the judge linking both together' that by

  1. Great Expectations. This essay will explore how this novel represents childhood in the Victorian ...

    This quote is important because it makes us feel a bit of sympathy for pip and his family and it also makes us understand that life in the Victorian era was hard and difficult for kids in those days. It also shows that back then, they couldn't make the expense of money because they were from the lower class area.

  2. Describe the character of Magwitch. What do you think Dickens has to say about ...

    After this, Pip is determined to go home, gather the things Magwitch needs and return to meet him the next day. An immediate view of the relationship between Magwitch and Pip is one based completely on fear and power,

  1. What does Dickens reveal about social class in 'Great Expectations'?

    He also has to forgive Miss Havisham and keep her from trying to kill herself as a result of the grief she has had from what she has done. He ends up back in the place where he has started his journey; sees Magwitch kill Compeyson and escapes being killed by Orlick.

  2. This essay will show a comparison of two extracts from the novel 'Great Expectations'

    Pip is now a highly intelligent and well educated gentleman who still has not heard any word that he believes might enlighten him on the subject of his expectations. The convict, Abel Magwitch (now known as Provis) is about to return.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work